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Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Nineteenth Week

You know better
than to think this week
will be the plague’s last
and since you’re realistic
you know next week
won’t be its last either
but don’t feel discouraged
you’ve already made it
through so many weeks of plague
so you’ll probably make it
through this week too.

*

I do not particularly like
avocado toast
I always remember
to make coffee at home
perhaps the reason why
I still cannot afford to buy a house
is that I keep needing to purchase
a fresh supply of masks.

*

Get out of that chair
it’s not good for your health
to be so stationary
for the sake of your heart
they say you really must try
to walk ten thousand steps
each and every day
but do not worry
with all the nervous pacing
you do in quarantine
you’ll hit ten thousand in no time.

*

There is not much I can do
my power is inconsequential
my authority is nonexistent
I do not issue guidance
or set policy
as just one amongst the many
really, there is not much I can do
but I cancel my plans
and stay masked
there is not much I can do
so I do the little I can.

*

Editorial Note: This is a collection of Plague Poems written between June 18, 2022 and June 24, 2022.

They were initially posted online on Twitter at @plaguepoems and Instagram at @plague_poems.

Throughout the duration of this crisis new poems will be posted regularly at that Twitter account, they will then be collected and reposted here in weekly increments.

*

If everything were coming apart
at the seams
it would not be so bad
mending seams is not that difficult
you can learn to do it yourself
all you need is a needle and thread
or a sewing machine
but everything is not coming apart
at the seams
everything is coming apart everywhere.

*

Of course
there is a scientific explanation
behind its name
but the real reason
why we refer to this variant
as BA
is because it feels
that it is lasting as long
as it takes to earn
a Bachelor’s Degree.

*

There is no single way
to count the plague times
the numbering of the week
depends on where you start:
from the first infection?
the pandemic designation?
some other point?
academics can debate its length
but we know
regardless of the week’s number
the plague has lasted too long.

*

Perhaps
the worst part
of seeing catastrophe coming
is feeling as though
there is nothing you can do
but watch.

*

I remember the grocery store
being out of toilet paper
and I remember watching
a video on making your own mask
I remember canceling
my travel plans
and I remember learning
how to teach a class online
but more than anything else
I remember thinking
that this would not last long.

*

So as not to contribute
to their burdens
I have grown quiet
towards those I love
when we speak now
I keep my responses small
my explanations vague
with no good news to report
I report nothing at all
when the worries go unsaid
I write the words down
and share them here with no one.

*

You must learn
how to read the statistics:
when you look now
at the maps and graphs
what you should notice
is not that we are undercounting
but just how little
our lives count.

*

How many of the things
that you always believed
could never happen
could never happen here
must occur before you realize
that those other things
that you still believe
can never happen
can never happen here
will be occurring soon.

*

Listen
it is simple:
if you wanted
to have rights
you should have been
a gun.

*

To whom it may concern,

My apologies
I know I have fallen behind
on my work
please understand that it is not
that I have forgotten
about my various obligations
but that I have been busy
watching my society collapse.

*

Though I have lost hope
I am not yet hopeless
I still have a little left
to lose tomorrow.

*

How unfortunate it is
to be reminded
that we do not need
a plague to destroy us
for we are perfectly capable
of destroying ourselves.

*

To have always expected
that this day would come
does not truly prepare you
for its arrival.

*

Historians will write of these days
but they have not done so yet
the first sentences
are beginning to take shape
but the rest of the chapter
still remains unwritten.

*

There is no shame
in feeling frightened
and though I doubt
you will find this comforting
please just know
I am frightened too.

*

The world has not ended
even now it continues
in its uncaring orbit
just as it did yesterday
just as it will tomorrow
the sun will set
the sun will rise
the world has not ended
though your world has.

*

Should you find yourself
wondering
how in this moment
you are supposed
to keep working
to keep shopping
to keep carrying on
you must recognize
that it is precisely because
you are supposed
to keep working
to keep shopping
to keep carrying on
that you must stop
doing those things.

*

Hope
is a pile of lumber
a box of nails
and some complicated blueprints.

Despair
is a stack of two-by-fours
a bucket of screws
and some faded designs.

And just look at you
standing there
with a screwdriver
in one hand
and a hammer
in the other
unsure of what to build.

*

 *

Plague Poems…the next week

Plague Poems…the first week

Plague Poems…the full list

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About Z.M.L

“I do not believe that things will turn out well, but the idea that they might is of decisive importance.” – Max Horkheimer librarianshipwreck.wordpress.com @libshipwreck

One comment on “Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Nineteenth Week

  1. Pingback: Plague Poems – The Hundred-and-Eighteenth Week | LibrarianShipwreck

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